The Cubs Don’t Have Unlimited Assets to Deal … and Other News and Notes

The GM Meetings are underway in Indian Wells, California and the Cubs are “still in the stage of figuring out what opportunities will be there” for them. According to a report from the Tribune, it appears the Cubs will be filling their needs this winter with free agent signings rather than trades.

Theo Epstein said Wednesday that the Cubs “do not have a ton of fits with 25 of the other 29 clubs.” The Cubs will continue to pursue all avenues but Epstein indicated they will likely focus on the free agent market due to their lack of tradable talent.

Carlos Marmol
According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs miscommunicated with Carlos Marmol last Friday about waiving his no-trade protection and approving a trade to the Angels. Jed Hoyer described the situation as unfortunate and said there was miscommunication between Marmol and the team.

Hoyer indicated that they should have explained what was going on better than they did and the Cubs deserve some of the blame for the trade being reported before it was finalized. The Cubs have spoken to Marmol since the trade was called off.

According to a report from David Kaplan, medical concerns caused the Cubs to pull out of the deal for Dan Haren. The Cubs had serious concerns over Haren’s back stiffness and hip issues. The Cubs were set to send around $3-plus million along with Marmol to the Angels for Haren before they pulled the trade off the table.

Who’s on Third?
A report from CSN Chicago confirmed the Cubs interest in Casey McGehee. McGehee has a relationship with Dale Sveum and the Cubs manager could help McGehee have a bounce back season.

Jed Hoyer indicated the Cubs could go with a platoon at third base.

According to the report from CSN, Ian Stewart hasn’t started baseball activities yet after undergoing wrist surgery last summer and the Cubs might wait until November 30 (tender deadline) before making a decision on Stewart’s future with the team.

Minor League Signings
The Cubs re-signed two of their minor league free agents to new one-year contracts. Outfielder turned pitcher Kyler Burke re-signed with the Cubs as well as infielder Jonathan Mota. Both players are still eligible for the Rule 5 Draft unless they are added to the 40-man roster by November 18.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to reports from the Tribune and the Sun-Times, Jed Hoyer “hinted” that the Cubs would be open to locking up Jeff Samardzija to a long-term contract.

The Cubs are interested in signing Kevin Youkilis according to a report from CSN Chicago but the Cubs expect him to go beyond their price range and sign with a team much closer to contention.

Major League Baseball is considering a change to its longtime rule allowing active rosters to expand from 25 to 40 on September 1.

There is no timetable to hire the Cubs new TV analyst according to a report from Bruce Levine. WGN, Comcast SportsNet and the Cubs are expected to interview Dan Plesac this week and Eric Karros early next week. Levine reported that negotiations with Bob Brenly over a new four-year deal unraveled in early October.

Billy Beane thinks Theo Epstein is being very disciplined with what he is doing with the Cubs.

The Cubs are one of four teams that remain on Justin Upton’s no-trade list.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

    I don’t like that the Cubs “miscommunicated” with Marmol. The front office should know what it’s doing.

    • Bryan

      Raymond…I agree. Additionally, regarding Haren, wouldn’t you already know of his back/health issues in advance of any discussions? His health isn’t a new revelation. One thing about the Cubs, they are masters of the marketing spin to the fan base (similar to the political landscape). You just never know when you’re getting the truth of information.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the Cubs are falling on the sword on this for the good of the club. Throwing Marmol under the bus would be counter-productive on many levels even if it’s true. Theo and company may get some negative press on message boards by taking the blame but I think it’s better than the alternative of alienating Marmol and possibly other players.

        • cubs1967

          er………perhaps Jed just screwed up. considering the dempster mess too; I’d say this one is on Jed “I’ve been GM of 2 teams and both got last Place? Hoyer.

          • calicub

            your an idiot

          • calicub

            I think it was universally agreed that the Braves jumped the gun on that one. Theo and his crew have been known to be tight lipped. They called dempster in to discuss, someone from the braves leaked the news and the media jumped on demp as he was entering the clubhouse. But as you say, clearly Jeds fault.

            As for this Haren trade, im sure there was some mixed communication w/ Marmol, but the guy was on the radio in the DR immediately after blabbing. Which clearly means Jed “just screwed up.”

            Take off your brown stained glasses and get some perspective. How is it that just because a GM had two losing seasons in a row, no matter how terrible they may have been, he must have also screwed up these trades. Ridiculous.

          • calicub

            out of respect for the CCO i called them brown stained glasses, but i think we all know what I meant…

          • Scott

            Don’t even bother responding to him. I’m not sure if he is actually as short-sighted as he appears to be or just trolls to stir the pot, but there is no sense in arguing with him.
            No management team bats 1.000, but none are as bad as he says either. If the Cubs traded Rusin for Verlander, he would still find fault somewhere, somehow.

          • calicub

            well said scott.

      • Tony_Hall

        You wouldn’t know the full details of his health issues until you actually see the medical info. It’s not that they don’t want Haren, just giving up Marmol and paying $8.7M was more than they would go.

    • Tony_Hall

      I don’t think they miscommunicated as much as Marmol mis-understood. The FO is taking the high road and taking the blame, because they want to still trade Marmol this off season.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I would agree. It may lie 100% with Marmol/

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, I agree. How many times over the last couple of years has Marmol mis-understood simple directions to
        throw more fastballs than sliders?
        I think he even has trouble getting the right jersey on for the day.
        Not bad-mouthing him, just that he does have trouble remembering what is going on.
        I applaud the FO for taking the heat.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Marmol and $3 plus million for Haren? [How much is "$3 plus million?]

    The Cubs would have been ripped off. That would mean that they would have had to pay Haren $15.5 million salary, plus the $3 plus million, for a total of $18.5 plus million for one year. PLUS they had to throw in Marmol. And if you want to subtract the $9.8 million owed to Marmol, they are still paying Haren $8.8 plus million for an injured player, and lose their closer.

    So I am glad it did not go down.

    • Tony_Hall

      Haren for 1 year $8.8M is not far off, but add in Marmol and that is why they said no. They are probably in the $4-$5M range on a 1 year deal for Haren and they would have said yes.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Justin Upton only has 4 teams on the planet that he won’t play for, and the Cubs are one of them. I wonder why……

    I speculate that not only does he not like losing, but also he understands that it takes a few supporting bats so that he can see some better pitches and have a better year.

    • Tony_Hall

      Do you think it has anything to do with a brick wall that he doesn’t want to play up against it for 81 games, mostly in the day?

      Wrigley and the Cubs attract some players and other players have no desire to play as their home park.

      • Ripsnorter1

        No.

        • Tony_Hall

          You don’t think it has anything to do with it….come on, I know he probably wants to go to a winner, but only 4 teams, last year it was NY, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, not exactly the 4 worst teams in the league.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Okay. It is Theo. He doesn’t want to play for Theo.

          • gocubs

            Having big market teams on your no-trade list gives you extra leverage to try to get a bigger deal from those teams. Its not that he doesnt want to go there.

          • DWalker

            wasn’t there something a while back about using no trade lists on likely big money teams to push for an incentive if they were being traded?

          • cubs1967

            the brick wall? WOW-you’ll defend team Theo no matter how irrational and stupid the reasons are. Perhaps it’s becuz the Cubs have been losers for 104 yrs and gaining momentum and some players don’t want to be that team that does make the WS and then loses…..or deal with the over the top pressure that Ricketts seems to ignore. (like the fantasy dream team of prospects is gonna handle 100 yrs of losing or whenever the WS appearance happens-please); but the wall; NO.

          • Tony_Hall

            Maybe you don’t remember Tori Hunter saying that was why he wouldn’t sign with the Cubs, I know Neil does, because he just referenced this off season when asked about Hunter.

            “Hunter has stated he does not want to play for the Cubs. The brick wall and basket at Wrigley would not allow him to take away homers from the opposing team”

            Many athletic OF’s are aggressive going after fly balls and don’t like the wall at Wrigley.

            Here is another one.

            “Every outfielder in game is afraid of the wall in Wrigley. Guys like Tori Hunter have the Cubs on their no-trade lists and/or no-negotiate lists because of the brick-walls.

            Those guys who are not afraid of it run into it once: and then are afraid from then on out! Remember, the bricks help the Cubs, too: opposing outfielders shy away from it, too, and they are less adept at getting close to it than Cub outfielders usually are.”

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, I do remember Hunter saying that and several players have in the past. Facts are facts and like you, I am not defending any one.

          • paulcatanese

            Neil, I remember one who probably still recalls his episode with the wall, or maybe he dosent,
            Hal Jeffcoat, very violent, and saw it on WGN.

          • RynoTiger

            I love Team Theo…my messiah will lead us to the promise land for many many years. I fully support the great vision and philosophies they’re implementing as they build the organization from ground up and create a winner!
            Go Team Theo!

    • Tony_Hall

      Sounds like there are 4 “new” teams on Upton’s list for his no trade clause.

      “Justin Upton’s no-trade list last year included the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, and Cubs, but Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers now says that the no-trade list is made up of four new teams, tweets Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. ”
      Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pagetwo.html#1QfamVEtAuyxkFJj.99

  • Ripsnorter1

    If we are going to go cheap again, then I think the Cubs should organize their starting nine in this way:

    Soriano, Melky Cabrera, and (gag) another year of DeJesus.

    3B….McGehee

    SS..Castro

    2B…Barney

    1B…Rizzo

    C….Castillo

    Now that is about as cheap as they can go to fill out the roster–unless they want to do the scrap heap waiver wire claims like they did last year.

    • Tony_Hall

      What would you do different at 3B, and the OF positions, as the rest is already set, unless they trade Barney?

      • Ripsnorter1

        There are no FA 3B worth a signing, except Keppinger, who is more of a super sub a la Mark DeRosa. Youkilis is not an option for me, unless he will sign for $3 million (he won’t). Keppinger would have real value to us, even if he signed to sub. He can play 1B as well.

        Stewart is still injured. He’s going to be, in my world, non-tendered and offered a minor league contract. Oh to have DJ LeMahieu back! We would then have flexibility with a Barney trade.

        OF–I want two big, big, big bats. I’d buy two big bats. Melky could be one of them. I don’t think the Cubs will take a publicity hit for having him along.

        • Tony_Hall

          3B – I see as McGahee and/or Stewart, maybe Keppinger even if as a utility guy.

          OF – WHO???? Melky is not much of big bat, unless you think is increase in batting was all natural. So who???

          • coachdon

            I wouldn’t mind both McGehee and Keppinger. Keppinger can play any infield position in a pinch and even though Rizzo will play every day, you do still need a backup in case he gets dinged for a few days.

        • Tony_Hall

          Center Field

          Bourn, Hamilton – just not going to happen

          Pagan – yes

          Sizemore – yes

          Upton – not worth the money

          Wise – no thanks

          Young – no thanks

          Right Field
          Diaz – no thanks
          Hunter – on a 1 year deal, ok, but he won’t
          Reed Johnson – unlikely, and bench guy
          Ross – overrated
          Swisher – ok, but don’t think it will happen

          Not a very long list, and very few choices.
          Mine have been
          Pagan, Sizemore, Swisher

        • Scott

          I don’t see much in the FA market that I would want to bet on to be “big, big, big” bats. I certainly wouldn’t pay Hamilton 20M+ for 5+ years, despite his talent. Melky? .284/.338/.414/.752 career line. Average 162 game power numbers of 11 HR and 31 2B. (For reference, DeJesus has a career line of .281/.355/.419/.774 with 162 game power numbers of 11 HR and 33 2B). Interesting….

          Ludwick? Pass. Quickly.
          Upton? Maybe, but at what cost? Average batting average the last 4 years is .242. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t walk much. Not something I think they will risk a ton of money and years on.

          Swisher? I’d love his enthusiasm on the field and in the clubhouse and I think it could work, but I don’t know about “big, big, big” bat. Plus, he’s 32, so will his “ok” numbers start to fall soon?

          There just isn’t much out there in terms of what you are referring to. I might give Melky a 1-yr “make good” deal with an option and full of incentives. Pagan and Victorino could be interesting, depending on what it would take to add them. But that’s my opinion. It isn’t going “cheap”. It’s just not wasting money.

          • John_CC

            Thanks for the Melky – DeJesus comparison, that is perfect.

            One guy gets skewered repeatedly even though he’s a consummate professional and clubhouse leader. The other inflates (cheats) his average numbers with a chemical regiment and he is a potential “big bat” FA!

  • Ripsnorter1

    I guess the Cubs have decided that Clevinger is not an option for 2013. Dave Recker was dropped. So who do you expect will be the backup plan?

    • Tony_Hall

      Where did you see that Clevenger is not an option for 2013 as back-up catcher?

      They have said they will at back-up catcher, and my guess is if they can get a veteran to be a mentor to Castillo, they will do that.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Team Theo said they were going to sign a backup catcher. The Cubs generally carry just two catchers at the ML level. That would mean, to me, that Clevinger is out. I expect Castillo and his gun to be the everyday catcher, don’t you?

        • Tony_Hall

          Look up the quote, I believe they stated it as one of the areas they would look into, not that they would for sure. I do see them trying to add that vet to be Castillo’s mentor, but they aren’t going to just add someone, if there is not fit.

        • Tony_Hall

          Here it is.

          “As for the payroll for the upcoming season, Theo Epstein said the payroll will look much different when additions are made than it does now. The Cubs are looking to add at least one outfielder, at least two starting pitchers, possibly a backup catcher and fill the hole at third base.”

          http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2012/11/cubsnews11212.php

        • Scott

          It could be that they would like Castillo and Clevenger to start every day, and the only way to do that is for one to start at the ML level and one at AAA. That way, both can develop as opposed to having one sit on the bench most of the time. Clevenger can get at least twice the amount of AB’s at the AAA level, making him more ready in case of an injury. A veteran backup to Castillo makes more sense for the short and especially long term success of the team.

          • DWalker

            Not mention at least alittle concern about having no depth at all in the system for catcher right now. Look at last years revolving catchers.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Josh Vitters has completely disappeared from the top 10 list.

    It has to be concerning that Brett Jackson’s “hit tool is fringe-average at best.” That is the one tool that is essential to make it to the bigs. He’s a good looking kid with a nice glove. But he fanned 40% of the time in the minors, and 50% of the time in the show last year. That has to change or else……

    I really think that Jackson’s approach at the plate is his problem. I mean…he takes too many pitches.

    And Tony, fasten your seatbelt, but I have to give Theo/Sveum/Hoyer credit for knowing that when they called Vitters to the bigs last year, that he wouldh’t be able to handle ML pitching.

    • Tony_Hall

      I usually do have my seatbelt fastened when I read your posts…

      Vitters was 6th last year, with 6 new additions to the farm system making the Top 10 and 1 big lug, Vogelbach, powering his way into the Top 10.

      It is so much about Szczur, Vitters, Candelario, McNutt, Hernandez, and Lake falling out of the Top 10, as much as them being pushed down by better talent.

      This is a good thing.

      I don’t think BJAX has to stop working the count, as much as learning how to defend the strike zone with 2 strikes. He goes down looking an awful lot (swing too, but that’s another issue) on borderline pitches that are too close to take.